JOHANNESBURG - The Momentum Proteas may not be able to win the Cricket South Africa (CSA) Women’s T20 series outright, but captain Dané van Niekerk says her squad is determined to end the five-match series against India in the best possible way come the last match on Saturday at PPC Newland in Cape Town.
The previous fixture in Centurion was washed out after South Africa looked primed to set a challenging target for the visitors, but the skipper says that her team are choosing to take the positives from that match, rather than wallow in the “what ifs”.
“First of all, it was pretty disappointing (to have the match washed out), we felt that the momentum was fully with us, but we have everything to play for. We don’t want to lose another series, so we’re gonna go out there and play the positive cricket that we know we can play and that we’ve been showcasing and hopefully we can put on a show for the crowd that comes out,” she commented.
The home side, who are 2-1 down in the series showed late bursts of brilliance with the bat in hand after India comfortably won their first two encounters by seven and nine wickets respectively in Potchefstroom and East London.
A five-wicket haul by Shabnim Ismail, a near half-century (41) by Suné Luus and a stroke of batting brilliance by Chloe Tryon (34 from 15 balls) saw South Africa drag themselves back into contention in match three at the Bidvest Wanderers, but Wednesday’s rainfall cut their series-winning dreams dead after Van Niekerk (55) and Lizelle Lee (58*) struck half-centuries up front subsequent to India putting them in to bat first.
Results aside, Van Niekerk is especially pleased with the manner in which her charges have gone about playing their cricket and how they have bounced back from painful losses and refused to be counted out of this series completely.
“It’s been a tough tour against India, not just this series, but the ODIs as well. But when the team bounced back they did so hard, I’ve been really proud of that,” she continued.
“It just goes to show that when you don’t think about the result and you just play your natural game and you stick to the basics, the rest, especially the results will take care of themselves.
"The girls have really made me proud in that respect, the lessons are sinking in, the game plans are working, it just took a while to get our combinations right and of course, we’re still going to work on those with the World T20 in the back of all our minds.”
Heading into Saturday's final clash, the skipper backs her squad to get them over the line. She boasted of the talent in her team.
“We’ve been working really hard about our shot selections in the nets, about how we want to go about it, when and how and it’s been awesome to see it come off,"Van Niekerk added.
"It’s awesome for the women’s game if Lizelle Lee comes off and also Chloe Tryon. They are two of the biggest hitters in women’s cricket at the moment and it’s great for the product of women’s cricket seeing them at their best.
“I stick to my guns, I’ve got the best bowling attack in the world, you know, people can dispute that, but that’s what I believe. They’ve showcased it. We’ve got the most bowlers in the ODI Rankings and it already speaks for itself.
"I’m spoilt for choice out there and we’ve been working really hard. Now all that’s left is for us to close this series off in a way that will make us and our country proud and I know it’s what every player in our changeroom wants to do.”
Play at Newlands will start at 13:00
Cricket SA Media